Smog Does Nobody Good Essay

1327 words - 5 pages

As of April 2000, Houston, Texas flunked the air quality test given by the American Lung Association of Texas. The city was carefully being watched because of the alarming reports taken from 1996-1998. Houston’s smog and ozone levels have now surpassed Los Angeles’s notorious air pollution problem. They must take advice from this infamously polluted city without slowing down the economic growth of their port city. They could reduce the traffic on the ship channel and the city’s highways, or create a better mass transit system but, just by shrinking the number of commuters or how much pollution factories are allowed to make in one day, it will not necessarily permanently fix the problem. These are the types of questions being asked by economists and environmentalists alike. A solution must be reached soon because as of now Houston is running too many risks.

     Many do not know the exact definition of smog or why it is dangerous. Smog is defined in Scott Monds’ “Smog, Let’s Clear the Air” as the “brownish-yellow haze” found hanging above large cities. Smog is mostly a part of the “ozone gas”, which can be harmful when found at ground level. Small amounts of ozone gas can be good, but when mixed with pollutants, it creates the smog (Monds). Nitrogen Dioxide and tiny debris such as soot give smog its distinctive color as well as VOCs or “volatile organic compounds”. Smog is a dangerous mix of chemicals that can cause short and long term health problems. It can aggravate the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as induce asthma attacks and increase hospitalization for those with respiratory problems. Smog is an increasing problem in the United States and according to Norris Kaleopono as of the year 2000 the city of Houston is the “Smoggiest City” in the United States (Norris).

     Before the recent reports from the EPA and the new Clean Air Act, many Americans pointed their fingers at Los Angeles, California when asked about a smog problem. Los Angeles has since cleaned up, creating a more reliable mass transit system and reducing the amount of traffic on the streets. But before Houstonians start mimicking the steps Los Angeles took to fix their smog problem, they should look at Canada and how it tries to prevent smog. Canada has strict regulations on the ground-level concentrations of ozone gas. The maximum amount of concentration allowed in the air is 82 parts per billion in a one-hour time limit. That is a much larger allowance than the U.S., but Monds thinks Canada does not want the air pollution to become as big a problem as it is in America, so they have asked the municipal, provincial, and federal governments to find a solution. Large public education projects have started and have since helped (Monds). Unlike America it has become a national interest in Canada to preserve air. The United States needs to learn that saving the air quality is a full-time job and not just when a city is in...

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